BURRILLVILLE – At a little bar tucked away on Callahan School Street, a 90 year tradition of hospitality and spirits continues.
Toti’s Tavern reopened this month under new ownership, but the business remains in the hands of the same family that first opened its doors nearly nine decades ago.
Situated in what appears, at least from outside, to be a single-story family home, the tavern was originally opened by Vincenzo “Jimmy” Toti in 1933. Born in Italy, Jimmy ran the bar with wife Emma. Census records from 1940 show the couple had three sons and a daughter – Dora – who went on to own a hair salon in Olneyville.
It was Dora who eventually took over the bar at 8 Callahan School St. with husband William Waterman in 1959.
Known for her warm, confident and bold nature, Dora was an active member of the Burrillville Republican Town Committee, and the tavern hosted numerous events over the years, from fundraisers for candidates, and to election night results. Dora was also a sports fan, and Toti’s has long been known as a great local stop to watch the game.
She would run the establishment for decades, until her death in 2021 at the age of 97.
Town property records show that the 1,476-square-foot bar sits on a half acre of land, along with a second structure owned by the family, and features a screened porch. Only a tall sign in front reading, “Toti’s Food & Cocktails,” and small lottery ad in the window indicate that one of the town’s longest-running businesses awaits inside.
After a recent closure that included renovations, the bar reopened in March, and held a celebration on Saturday, April 2.
Dora’s niece Carla Manni has taken charge and established new hours along with the fresh look, adding appetizers to the menu including stuffies, chicken wings, pretzels and grilled cheese sandwiches. Manni is also the president of Cranston-based freight and shipping business Trans-Link LLC.
The 90-year-old bar is now on social media, where Manni has shared photos from the bar’s long history.
“Since our reopening, we would like to thank all those who have made us a continued success,” she notes.
Toti’s Tavern at 8 Callahan School St. is now open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3 to 11 pm.